Assessment report of the Queensland Spanner Crab Fishery

Environmental assessment under the EPBC Act
Department of the Environment and Heritage, December 2001
ISBN 0 642 54860 9

Summary table of the assessment of the Queensland Spanner Crab Fishery against the Guidelines for the ecologically sustainable management of fisheries

Guidelines Satisfactory/Needs Improvement (S/NI) Comment
The management regime must meet principles 1 and 2 of the Guidelines NI  
The management regime must take into account arrangements in other jurisdictions. NI Recommend QFS pursue possibility of joint stock assessment and monitoring with NSW
The management regime must comply with any relevant international or regional management regime to which Australia is a party. S  
The management regime does not have to be a formal statutory fishery management plan as such, and may include non-statutory management arrangements or management policies and programs. The regime should: S  
  • be documented, publicly available and transparent;
S  
  • be developed through a consultative process providing opportunity to all interested and affected parties, including the general public;
S  
  • ensure that a range of expertise and community interests are involved in individual fishery management committees and during the stock assessment process.
S  
  • be strategic, containing objectives and performance criteria by which the effectiveness of the management arrangements are measured;
S  
  • be capable of controlling the level of harvest in the fishery using input and/or output controls;
S  
  • contain the means of enforcing critical aspects of the management arrangements;
NI Concern over validation of effort data and recommend review of compliance and enforcement activities.
  • provide for the periodic review of the performance of the fishery management arrangements and the management strategies, objectives and criteria;
S  
  • be capable of assessing, monitoring and avoiding, remedying or mitigating any adverse impacts on the wider marine ecosystem in which the target species lives and the fishery operates
NI Recommend more information to be collected.
  • require compliance with relevant threat abatement plans, recovery plans, the National Policy on Fisheries Bycatch, and bycatch action strategies developed under that policy.
S  
Principle 1
A fishery must be conducted in a manner that does not lead to over-fishing, or for those stocks that are over-fished, the fishery must be conducted such that there is a high degree of probability the stock(s) will recover .
Objective 1. The fishery shall be conducted at catch levels that maintain ecologically viable stock levels at an agreed point or range, with acceptable levels of probability.

Information requirements

1.1.1 There is a reliable information collection system in place appropriate to the scale of the fishery. The level of data collection should be based upon an appropriate mix of fishery independent and dependent research and monitoring.

NI Concern over validation of effort data, see comment under 1.1.7

Assessment

1.1.2 There is a robust assessment and periodic review of data collected on the dynamics and status of the species/fishery that should include, where relevant, an assessment of the status and trends in age and sex composition. Assessment should be with a view to identification of reduction in biological diversity and/or reproductive capacity. Review should take place at regular intervals but no greater than three years should elapse between reviews.

NI Continuation of work to develop a biologically meaningful assessment model is strongly encouraged.
1.1.3 The distribution and spatial structure of the stock(s) has been established and factored into management responses. NI Recommend the review of the MAA/MAB boundary.
1.1.4 There are reliable estimates of all removals, including commercial (landings and discards), recreational and indigenous, from the fished stock. These estimates have been factored into stock assessments and target species catch levels. NI See comment under 1.1.1
1.1.5 There is a sound estimate of the potential productivity of the fished stock/s and the proportion that could be harvested. NI Recommend an assessment of the impact of effort creep on the effectiveness of the assessment process

Management response

1.1.6 There are reference points (target and/or limit), that trigger management actions including a biological and/or effort bottom line beyond which the stock should not be taken.

SI  
1.1.7 There are management strategies in place capable of controlling the level of take. NI Recommend that QFS periodically review the compliance and enforcement strategy and activities to ensure emerging compliance risks are identified and addressed. Particular attention should be given to the validation of catch per unit effort (CPUE) data.
1.1.8 Fishing is conducted in a manner that does not threaten stocks of by-product species. (Guidelines 1.1.1 to 1.1.6 should be applied to byproduct species to an appropriate level). S  
1.1.9 The management response, considering uncertainties in the assessment and precautionary management actions, has a high chance of achieving the objective. S  
Objective 2. Where the fished stock(s) are below a defined reference point, the fishery will be managed to promote recovery to ecologically viable stock levels within nominated timeframes.

Management response

1.2.1 A precautionary recovery strategy is in place specifying management actions, or staged management responses, which are linked to reference points. The recovery strategy should lead to the recovery of the stock within a specified period of time, or until the species recovers.

n/a  
1.2.2 If the stock is estimated as being at or below the biological and / or effort bottom line, management responses such as a zero targeted catch, temporary fishery closure or a 'whole of fishery' effort or quota reduction are implemented. n/a  
Principle 2.
Fishing operations should be managed to minimise their impact on the structure, productivity, function and biological diversity of the ecosystem.1
Objective 1. The fishery is conducted in a manner that does not threaten bycatch species.

Information requirements

2.1.1 Reliable information, appropriate to the scale of the fishery, is collected on the composition and abundance of bycatch.

NI Recommend some additional reporting mechanisms.

Assessments

2.1.2 There is a risk analysis of the bycatch with respect to its vulnerability to fishing.

S  

Management responses

2.1.3 Measures are in place to avoid capture and mortality of bycatch species unless it is determined that the level of catch is sustainable (except in relation to endangered, threatened or protected species). Steps must be taken to develop suitable technology if none is available.

S  
2.1.4 An indicator group of bycatch species is monitored.
n/a  
2.1.5 There are decision rules that trigger additional management measures when there are significant perturbations in the indicator species numbers n/a  
2.1.6 The management response, considering uncertainties in the assessment and precautionary management actions, has a high chance of achieving the objective. S  
Objective 2. The fishery is conducted in a manner that avoids mortality of, or injuries to, endangered, threatened or protected species and avoids or minimises impacts on threatened ecological communities.

Information requirements

2.2.1 Reliable information is collected on the interaction with endangered, threatened or protected species and threatened ecological communities.

NI Recommend some additional reporting mechanisms.

Assessments

2.2.2 There is an assessment of the impact of the fishery on endangered, threatened or protected species.


S  

2.2.3 There is an assessment of the impact of the fishery on threatened ecological communities.

 

n/a  

Management responses

2.2.4 There are measures in place to avoid capture and/or mortality of endangered, threatened or protected species.

NI Recommend education program.
2.2.5 There are measures in place to avoid impact on threatened ecological communities
n/a  
2.2.6 The management response, considering uncertainties in the assessment and precautionary management actions, has a high chance of achieving the objective.
S  
Objective 3. The fishery is conducted, in a manner that minimises the impact of fishing operations on the ecosystem generally.

Information requirements

2.3.1 Information appropriate for the analysis in 2.3.2 is collated and/or collected covering the fisheries impact on the ecosystem and environment generally.

NI Recommend more information be collected.

Assessment

2.3.2 Information is collected and a risk analysis, appropriate to the scale of the fishery and its potential impacts, is conducted into the susceptibility of each of the following ecosystem components to the fishery.

  • Impacts on ecological communities
    • Benthic communities
    • Ecologically related, associated or dependent species
    • Water column communities
  • Impacts on the physical environment
    • Physical habitat
    • Water quality
  • Impacts on food chains
    • Structure
    • Productivity/flows
NI Recommend conduct a formal risk assessment.

Management responses

2.3.3 Management actions are in place to ensure significant damage to ecosystems does not arise from the impacts described in 2.3.1.

S  
2.3.4 There are decision rules that trigger further management responses when monitoring detects impacts on selected ecosystem indicators beyond a predetermined level, or where action is indicated by application of the precautionary approach.
S  
2.3.5 The management response, considering uncertainties in the assessment and precautionary management actions, has a high chance of achieving the objective S  

1 The issues addressed under the principle are those that define components of ecosystem integrity